Monday, May 6, 2013

Save your Library

The School District of Philadelphia is most obviously in shambles right now. It's heartbreaking that a budget crisis created by adults most adversely affects our kids.

If you haven't been following Philadelphia, here's a few articles:

Here's the Readers Digest version:

The School District is in debt - a $300 million deficit. The School District has asked the state for $120 million and Philadelphia City Council for $60 million. Every one says there is no money - none - to bail out the district for the nth year in a row.

The teacher's union has been told that they could see salary cuts upwards of 25%, in addition to making other concessions. There's been no agreement yet, but it won't be pretty.

About 30 schools were just voted to be shut down next school year. I would bet money that more will be closed in the following years.

They have announced that all "non-essential" staff will be cut next year: nurses, counselors, librarians, assistant principals, secretaries.

Sports, music, and after school programs: gone.

This is all of course if no money is found. But even if some money is found, I'm sure we'll still see most of these things come about anyway.

The point? Other than heartbreak? The School District, the schools, and everyone who attends or works in a school, are in for a rough time.

In Library Build news, I've created a guide for others to help save their own libraries based on the work we did at Rowen. Check it out, let me know thoughts. I can easily make changes and edits as people need more information:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


 Now that we've finished the Rowen library - though any librarian will tell you that a library is never "finished" - we are currently working on some new strategies, events, and plans.

And we're officially starting a subscriber list!

If you want to receive updates from us, sign up above.
We won't email too often, promise. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy MLK Day!

While Library Build isn't having an MLK Day of Service today, we hope that everyone is out there helping out our kids or schools!

Now that Library Build has completed the work on Rowen's library, we're considering what to do next - but we promise it will be great!

Some things to look forward to:
- A new website launch (new logo and everything, it looks wonderful!)
- A guidebook/how-to for those interested in helping their own community school libraries
- A connection service that allows groups or schools to adopt and partner with Philadelphia public schools that are trying to fix their library spaces.

Have a great day everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Grand Opening!

This morning, Library Build and Rowen Elementary School celebrated the grand (re)opening of the Rowen library - a library that had been closed for 15+ years.

Parents, teachers, community members, students, and volunteers came out - we thank you!!

I'll write a longer post later, but for now, enjoy our first pictures!

Librarian's desk with the refreshment set up! So happy about the green bookcases!

Behave, kids! Just kidding, love your library!

Here's something I didn't know: tv cameras are scary

Cutting the ribbon at the door of the library!

Our fabulous student volunteers who gave tours of the library AND recited great poems about books and reading.

A class already enjoying the new reading corner.

A good view of my epic columns :) 

 More to come later! Thanks so much everyone!

Email Callie at if you have thoughts or questions!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tomorrow is the big day

Well folks, tomorrow is the big day.

I always have tried to keep this blog very positive - which is why I'll never write about fights with the school district, disappointments from people who I thought I could count on, money issues, hearing for the ten billionth time "why don't you talk to me after you've done a library..."

But I'll be a little more honest with the blog tonight. Today was one of those days that make you go crazy, the day when you feel like no one's giving you a break, everyone wants something but no one will help you a little, the traffic won't stop, there's no food in the house, your credit card got stolen, your car got hit, there are no parking spots.

I was driving down Broad Street in a fit of total road rage - not the best road on which to have road rage in Philadelphia. Many thanks to Ryan Seacrest for playing some jamming tunes. I needed them.

And then I got to the library. Panic: what needs to be done, can I do it right now, sh*t I never bought a rug!, why is the floor still a mess?, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THESE COLUMNS?

Because apparently 12 months isn't long enough to finish a library.

So I started painting the columns. It's 4PM the day before our grand opening and I thought, "Yes, I should paint the columns."

So there I am, no one else in the library, painting. the. columns.

Actually, there were people. The principal had gotten the district's maintenance crew to come out and clean. So it was me, standing on a table and painting while they cleaned. Also, I'll tell you something - I had no idea what they were talking about, it was like code. "We need the green packs, thats the M3, where's the 104." Huh?

And I thought, I might get sued by some union now - I'm probably not allowed to stand on tables and paint in a school district school. Note: this sentence may have to be taken out.

But they didn't seem to mind me, in fact they were kind of amused by my color choices for the dang columns.

You want to know what the funny thing about standing on tables and painting columns is? People come and talk to you.

There was talk about tomorrow, about the future of the library, the future of Rowen. About the 20 years the Rowen community hasn't had a school library.

And I got it: my library therapy. 

So while I'll always feel like I didn't do enough, didn't raise enough money, didn't make it perfect enough, the library is wonderful and I'm happy with how it turned out, and happier still that the kids will have some semblance of a functional library space.

Happy too that I followed through as well as I could with the resources I had. It's not perfect, but nothing is.

So, tonight, my wish for you all is that you find something that makes you go total bonkers, question why you're doing it, makes you feel stressedoverwhelmedcrazy, makes other people say "are you nuts?", but gives you a sense of the things that you can do if you just put one foot forward and... don't over-think.

And now what to do about a rug? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's almost here!

A lot of very exciting things have been happening for Library Build recently:

1. Our grand opening is scheduled for December 7!

2. Our last Saturday work day is Sat, Nov. 17! Want to come? Email Callie at

3. We are very pleased to be receiving logo and website redesign from a verynice design studio - looking forward to unveiling our new look!

4. The board and I are working out the next stage of Library Build's growth - we'll fill you in soon!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Most recent work day

Here's some great pictures from our most recent work day - we had a great group of volunteers and got a lot done!

Hard at work
Our fixed up tables!

The fiction section taking shape

This note says: "New books to be processed, 2001" guess what? the books are sitting in a cabinet

Finally finished painting! Empty for now, but not for long!